Thousands of people in Spain were watching what was happening in a room in Luxembourg this Thursday. These are thousands of interim workers who are awaiting the result of their battle in the courts against the abuse of the administration and which has reached the European courts. In a ruling relating to the case of three Catalan public administration workers who have been chaining contracts for more than a decade, the Court of Justice of the EU has endorsed that long-term interim workers become permanent without being considered civil servants with the intention to limit the abusive position of the administration. The ruling insists that the legislation does not contemplate sanctions to punish these abuses.

“If the court considers that the Spanish legal system does not contain, in relation to the public sector, any effective measure to avoid and, where appropriate, punish the abusive use of successive contracts or employment relationships of fixed duration, the conversion of these contracts or relationships in an employment relationship for an indefinite period may constitute a measure of this type,” establishes the CJEU. However, it is up to the Spanish courts to make the decisions.

Furthermore, it specifies that the transition from interim to permanent employees would be legal if they are “subject to the same causes of dismissal and dismissal as those that apply to career civil servants without, however, acquiring the status of career civil servant.”

The CJEU’s ruling comes at the request of a Spanish court, which presented preliminary questions on the cases of three employees of institutions dependent on the Generalitat who have held temporary administration contracts for more than a decade. What European justice establishes is a series of guidelines so that Spanish courts can interpret legislation in accordance with EU law.

In general terms, the judges of Luxembourg indicate that the interpretation that contracts that last more than two years exceed the objective of covering exceptional needs is correct. What the CJEU does not agree on is the national regulations that establish as measures to sanction the abusive use of temporary contracts the maintenance of the affected public employee until the call and resolution of selective processes by the employing Administration and the payment of compensation economic with a double maximum limit in favor only of the public employee who does not pass said processes. Remember, furthermore, that the maximum limit of this compensation (a cap of twenty days of remuneration per year of service and twelve months of salary in total) “does not even allow proportionate and effective reparation in situations of abuse that exceed a “a certain duration in years, nor the adequate and full reparation of the damages derived from said abuses.”

“Neither the convening of selective processes nor compensation are adequate to prevent or punish abuses, since they are independent of any consideration relating to the abusive nature of the use of fixed-term contracts or employment relationships,” the CJEU summarizes in a statement.

The CJEU therefore endorses the conversion of temporary contracts into permanent ones as a measure to combat abuse by the administration and establishes that courts that have to analyze case by case can ignore the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, which opposes this conversion. .

It is the second sentence of this type that reaches Spain from Luxembourg. In February, the CJEU recommended the conversion of interim contracts into permanent contracts by establishing that the concatenation of temporary agreements violates the framework agreement of European regulations and urged Spain to take measures against this form of “precariousness.” However, the Supreme Court alleges that this ruling does not require it to be done.


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